Donostia-San Sebastián International Peace Conference
The International Conference to Promote the Resolution of the Conflict in the Basque Country — more widely known as the Donostia-San Sebastián International Peace Conference — was a conference aimed at promoting a resolution to the Basque conflict, which took place in Donostia-San Sebastián (Basque Country) on October 17, 2011, at Aiete Palace. It was organized by the Basque citizens' group Lokarri, and included leaders of Basque parties, as well as six international personalities known for their work in the field of politics and pacification: Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary-General), Bertie Ahern (former Taoiseach of Ireland), Gro Harlem Brundtland (international leader in sustainable development and public health, former Prime Minister of Norway), Pierre Joxe (former Interior Minister of France), Gerry Adams (president of Sinn Féin, member of the Irish Parliament) and Jonathan Powell (British diplomat who served as the first Downing Street Chief of Staff). Tony Blair — former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — could not be present due to commitments in the Middle East, but he supported the final declaration. The former US President Jimmy Carter (2002 Nobel Peace Prize) and the former US senator George J. Mitchell (former United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace) also backed this declaration.
The conference resulted in a five-point statement that included a plea for ETA to renounce any armed activities and to demand instead negotiations with the Spanish and French authorities to end the conflict. It was seen as a possible prelude to the end of ETA's violent campaign for an independent Basque homeland, and three days later — on October 20 — ETA announced "definitive cessation of its armed activity".
The Final declaration has five points, and it's written as follows:
- We call upon ETA to make a public declaration of the definitive cessation of all armed action and to request talks with the governments of Spain and France to address exclusively the consequences of the conflict.
- If such a declaration is made we urge the governments of Spain and France to welcome it and agree to talks exclusively to deal with the consequences of the conflict.
- We urge that major steps be taken to promote reconciliation, recognize, compensate and assist all victims, recognize the harm that has been done and seek to heal personal and social wounds.
- In our experience of resolving conflicts there are often other issues that, if addressed, can assist in the attainment of lasting peace. We suggest that non violent actors and political representatives meet and discuss political and other related issues, in consultation with the citizenry, that could contribute to a new era without conflict. In our experience third party observers or facilitators help such dialogue. Here, such dialogue could also be assisted by international facilitators, if that were desired by those involved.
- We are willing to form a committee to follow up these recommendations.
Three days after the conference — on October 20 — ETA announced "definitive cessation of its armed activity". They said they were ending their 43-year armed campaign for independence and called on Spain and France to open talks. The Spanish government insisted that it will not negotiate on demands for Basque self-determination until ETA disbands. Spanish premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero described ETA's announcement as "a victory for democracy, law and reason".
- "Annan and Adams top list of experts at Donostia Peace Conference". EITB.com. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Minder, Raphael (18 October 2011). "Peace Talks Pressure Basque Separatists to Disarm". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "Tony Blair y Jimmy Carter suman sus apoyos a la declaración de la Conferencia". El Mundo. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "International negotiators urge Eta to lay down weapons". BBC News. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "Armed group ETA announces 'definitive cessation of its armed activity'". EITB.com. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Basque group Eta says armed campaign is over". BBC News. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- Declaration of the International Conference to Promote the resolution conflict in the Basque Country
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